Dwight Thomas needed a job after Choctaw fired him more than 30 years ago. Never mind that he had a winning record while at the school.
He decided to take the job at Escambia, the job no one else wanted.
The Gator football program was a mess at the time, lacking stability and coming off an 0-10 season.
What Thomas didn’t know was Emmitt Smith was about to enter his freshman year of high school. With Smith in the lineup, Thomas guided the Gators to back-to-back state championships in the 1980s during his first two years as the head coach. Smith played a pivotal role in the run and went on to star at Florida and eventually become one of the greatest running backs in NFL history.
Thomas looks back fondly on that time in his life.
These days he’s involved in helping high school athletes achieve their own football dreams. He’s a scout in Florida for XOS digital and puts together recruiting fairs at high schools throughout the state, including one that took place at Navarre two weeks ago.
The fairs feature coaches from small colleges and that presents an entirely different look at recruiting.
Read the full article in the Feb. 21 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.